UN chief can't judge if Gaza probes are 'credible'
A report from UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon indicates he was uncertain whether UN demands were met for "credible" investigations into allegations that Israel or the Palestinians deliberately targeted civilians during last year's Gaza conflict.
The highly anticipated report released Thursday night to the 192-nation General Assembly cautioned that such investigations must be conducted "wherever there are credible allegations of human rights abuses."
Israel says it has launched investigations into 150 separate incidents, including 36 criminal probes so far, and gathered evidence from almost 100 Palestinians who had complaints or were witnesses.
The Palestinians only created a commission to carry out an investigation in late January, despite a General Assembly resolution in November urging both sides to conduct investigations by Friday.
In a short preface to his 72-page report, nearly all of which is responses by Israel and the Palestinians, Ban concluded he could not ultimately determine yet whether Israel and the Palestinians had met the General Assembly's demands to carry out credible, independent investigations into their own actions.
He said he hoped the assembly's resolution will, in fact, result in probes "that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards."
But, he added that "no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned."
An expert UN panel found in September that both Israel and Palestinian militants committed war crimes during last winter's fighting, in which 13 Israelis and almost 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including many civilians.
The panel's 575-page investigative report, requested by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, was overseen by a respected South African jurist, Richard Goldstone.